DRDO: Martha Lies

Yes, can you believe it . . . Martha Stewart lies.  My world was shattered when I found this out while stenciling the dining room.  Martha lies big time.

All that time.  All that trust I put into our relationship.  All those hours I spent crocheting the same freaking “released from prison” poncho.

And she lied to me.  Her stencil adhesive stuck to everything except for what it was supposed to do– stick the stencil to the wall.  My feet stuck to the plastic tarp.  The tarp stuck to itself.  Paper towels stuck to everything but did that stencil stick to the wall.

No.  Therefore Martha lies.

I don’t know if I can ever get over this betrayal.

Ok, let’s face it, I can easily get over this betrayal because Martha offers some very amazing products.

Now that I have my “Martha Lies” rant out of myself, I can fill you in on Stencilmania otherwise known as the first time Greg got to spend a day on the couch while his fiancee slaved a house project.  Typically these roles are reversed since Greg doesn’t trust me with the big power tools or anything electrical.

Fine .  . . I don’t trust me with any of those.

A few months ago, I fell in love with the look of these walls and wanted to mimic them in our dining room.  We selected a stencil from Royal Design Studio after debating several allover designs. The softness and simplicity of this design called out to us.

What you will need for this:

  • One quart of wall color in high gloss
  • Stencil brush
  • Small roller with tray
  • Paper towels
  • Stencil
  • Stencil adhesive
  • Painters tape
  • Plastic drop cloths
  • Small level
  • Step stool or ladder
  • A hat

Before even opening the can of paint, I cut the plastic drop cloth and taped it at the Great Divide to prevent any paint on the stencil from marring the freshly painted white bottom half of the wall.

To stencil, you need a game plan.  I really needed to think out how to start the stenciling because our dining room has a soffit along one of the short walls.  After discussing with the master stenciler (my mom), we decided the best way to stencil the room was to start on the long wall in the corner opposite the soffit, work my way to the soffit, stencil under it, go back to the starting point and work my way from the starting point in the opposite direction and end under the soffit.  Once that was done, I would work my way in from each wall along the soffit (one stencil on the right, one on the left) until I hit the center.

Confused?  Maybe this image will help.

Early on July 4th, I decided to free our dining from the tyranny of the former wallpaper and let it declare its freedom with stenciling.  I opened the can of high gloss paint and poured a bit into my roller tray, spray adhesive the back of the stencil and busted out Ms. Level.

Yes, I bought a level for this project.  Mr. Level now has a girlfriend.

I placed the stencil in the top corner of the room, checked the edge with the level, smoothed it out, and then watched the stencil adhesive not hold.  A few pieces of painters tape placed around the edge and I lighted covered my roller in paint.  With bated breath, I did my first stencil.

And hated it.

It didn’t look the way I thought it was going to look.  I did another row.

Still didn’t change my thoughts.

I called Greg in and he had the same feelings except he told me to keep going.  He pointed out the paint was wet and we were not getting the full effect of the stencil.

I powered on and about an hour later when I finished the wall, it was love.

Over the next four hours, I worked on and off with the stencil until the room looked like this.

With a few of these (that I still need to touch up.)

What I love about this high gloss/matte paint affect is how the image disappears in certain lights or as you move closer to it.

Here’s an action shot of me stenciling the soffit.

How to Stencil

  1. Buy a stencil.
  2. Select a wall.
  3. Buy paint, stenciling brush, cabinet roller, adhesive spray (not Martha’s), a small level, and painter’s tape.
  4. Make sure the adhesive spray is for stencils.  Do not buy regular adhesive spray because it is permanent.
  5. Devise a game plan.
  6. Spray the stencil and put a few pieces of tape on it.
  7. Put it on the wall and ensure it is level.
  8. Use your roller to paint the stencil.  Make sure your roller is lightly covered in paint.  Do not have it heavily covered.
  9. Move the stencil down, matching the registration marks or pattern.  On mine, I matched the first few dots of the stencil.
  10.  Keep going around the room.
  11. Be sure to take a few breaks.


  • When working on a wall, I would do the parts where the stencil needed to be bent last.  It’s easy to work around a doorway.  When it came time to do the bent parts, I would work with a dry, clean stencil using a stencil brush.  The brush allowed me to easily push the stencil flat and get the paint in.
  • Not all walls are perfect.  In some spots, the dots did not match up perfectly.  I would try to get it as close as possible and then touch up with my paint brush.
  • Our stencil allowed me to “fake it” a bit.  If there was a spot that I could free hand near a corner, I would.  At the middle point of our soffit, I free handed the design.  I worked my way in from the ends and once I got to a point in the center (just less than one stencil’s width), I free handed it.
  • Wait until you are finished before touching up.
  • Clean your stencil often.  I found this helped keep the image clean and sharp
  • When peeling off painters tape, run a box cutter along the top to free the tape from the paint.
  • When starting back up, it might help to have a flashlight (if you are doing the high gloss affect) because then you can better see where you need to line the stencil up.
  • Wear a hat so that when the stencil falls on your head, you don’t get paint in your hair.
  • Find good music to listen to.

2 thoughts on “DRDO: Martha Lies

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